The Silencing of Freedom-Speaking Women

Have you noticed how a priest has an automatic platform for his voice? Through no gift of his own or his own message to give, he goes to school for a few years and viola, he gets to stand before tens, if not thousands, and they listen to him. His message might be shit, or his words the same old sermon they’ve heard a million times, but still they listen. The priest did nothing to deserve this, and nothing to earn it.  He simply gets a platform from which to speak simply by virtue of his collar, and the penis that got him there.

Not so for women. Not so. Instead, there is no place for our voice or our own message except that which we’ve wrestled for ourselves – in back alleys, in dark corners of coffee shops or bars, between bookstore and library shelves where the women’s literature hides. A hasty, hushed whisper is all we’re allowed while priests gather flocks through no merit of their own.

Were it not for the vagina, I might have been a priest. Thank Goddess The Mother knew better. My skin crawls over the harm priests have caused – those who are men, and more recently those with breasts who also strive to wear the collar. Only slaves wear collars. In the case of the Church, slaves that seek to enslave.  No Thank You!

How can one preach freedom within an institution that enslaves? You can’t! This is why freedom-speaking women are rarely given a stage – especially those who point out the hypocrisy of those who tell freedom lies. The Institution’s response instead, is to silence these women.

The Church doesn’t want us to be free.

And yet, we persist. Speaking of love and the promise of freedom til the very day we die, even if all who ever hear us are the desert’s grains of sand.

A Change in Direction

In the summer of 1994, I had an experience that forever changed the course of my life. I had been languishing, feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, and out of place in my fifth corporate job in almost as many years. I knew that I was not in the right career path and that corporate work just wasn’t for me. I had been begging and pleading the universe for support in finding my true path – the path of my soul, and that which would lead to a sense of meaning and fulfillment and which might help to serve the betterment of our world.

The answer came in a startling and unexpected way. While attending mass one Sunday, the pastor, in his homily said, “If there’s something you want to do and you haven’t done it yet, get off your ass and do it now.” I felt his words like a lightening bolt through my entire body as I saw a red brick fly through the air and hit me in the head. Perhaps this was the answer – or at least the invitation. I scheduled an appointment with my pastor and thus began the beginning of the path that would lead me to where I am today.

What began as ministry formation through the Catholic Church led to training as a spiritual director, which then led me on the path of Reiki healing. I secured a paid position with the Church, eventually leaving the corporate world behind.

This, however, was just the beginning. I worked in the Church for ten years, and during that time, applied ancient knowledge and practice into what became a nine-month curriculum in human psycho-spiritual development. Through this training, participants began to discover their unique gifts and how they were being called to use these gifts in the world for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world. I saw the results of this training first in myself, and then in those I guided. This was meaningful and fulfilling work and I knew I was on to something.

Then Reiki happened. Suffice it to say that hierarchy and the movement of the Holy Spirit collided. Eventually I had to make a choice between my Church and the calling that God had given me.  I chose God.

This choosing took place over many years with lots of bargaining and excruciating grief, but since 2008 I have been free of institutional constraints and have been leading individuals and groups on the journey of their own psycho-spiritual development using the curriculum that has its roots in my time in Church ministry, but which has unfolded in a way to speak to and meet the needs of a universal audience. Since then, I have published ten books, created over thirty courses geared toward supporting participants in their own journey of self-actualization, and led hundreds on that journey.

I do this work because I have seen the benefits in my own life and in the life of my clients and students. When we take the time to uncover our unique giftedness, discern how we are called to share the gifts in the world, and then move through the inner obstacles to living out of those gifts, we experience a sense of meaning and fulfillment in our lives which leads us to a deep state of inner contentment and joy. While attending graduate school, I learned that the word for this acquired knowledge and experience is self-actualization.  I also learned, and have seen for myself, that self-actualized humans naturally and effortlessly work from their own unique gifts in support of their own fulfillment and for the betterment of the world. Self-actualization in one benefits our world in exponential ways.  It has therefore become my mission to support the betterment of our world by supporting self-actualization one person at a time.

A Life of Meaning and Fulfillment

Soul School with Lauri Ann Lumby is a one-of-a-kind education platform that provides the resources and tools to support you in becoming self-actualized so that you might enjoy the meaningful and fulfilling life of your dreams.

  • Embodied learning
  • Where knowledge meets practice
  • Combining education, spirituality, and psychology
  • Applying ancient wisdom
  • The marriage of scholarship and mysticism
  • Rooted in empowerment

Done with Church? #Metoo

Once upon a time, Lauri Ann Lumby was an enamored, mostly devout Catholic girl.  I attended Catholic school for most of my 12 years of schooling, proudly wore my plaid uniform skirt with starched white blouse and embraced all that post-Vatican II Catholicism had to offer (it really was an exciting time in the Church!).  I continued attending weekly mass during college and into adulthood.  I heard my calling to active ministry somewhere around the age of 27, completed 7 years of training as a pastoral minister and spiritual director and worked in the Church for 10 full years. 

Then it all went bad. The short version is that I dared to take Jesus’ teachings and commands seriously and stepped more and more fully into “doing what Jesus did.” The Church didn’t like that, and neither did the self-appointed inquisition who made it their job to make sure I was obedient to “only that which was handed down by the magisterium,” which I found hilarious because the history of the Catholic Church has always been practice before legislation.

Most likely the real issue was not the work I was doing, but the fact I am a woman and I dared to do what Jesus did – namely, be a source of healing for those who sought it. 

That’s the short of my boring story….but what’s yours?  I bet I can guess some of the primary reasons why you no longer go to Church and maybe have no interest in returning:

  1. The Church’s hypocrisy – teaching one thing but living another. (#priestsexabusescandal)
  2. You’ve been divorced, use birth control, or found yourself having to make the choice to terminate an unplanned pregnancy.
  3. You’re LGTBQ.
  4. You no longer, or never, resonated with the idea of a hellfire and brimstone God or the idea of hell in the first place.
  5. Many of the Church teachings don’t make sense to you.
  6. You have a sense that Jesus may have been a cool dude, but don’t resonate with the Church’s portrayal of him, or don’t believe Jesus is the ONLY WAY to “salvation.”
  7. You’re not sure “salvation” is even anything to strive after.
  8. You are a woman and wonder if you even have a place in a patriarchal/hierarchical/clerical institution.
  9. You take issue with clericalism.

Ringing any bells? This is just a handful of the infinite number reasons I have heard from others for why they left the Church and have no plan of returning. Good for them. I agree with them. It is for this very reason that Authentic Freedom Academy and the Temple of the Magdalene came about in the first place. And here’s why:

  1. I personally have no problem with Jesus. When we look beyond Church dogma and man’s interpretation of Jesus’ message, we only find a message of compassion and love. I think this is a good and timely message – one the world really needs!
  2. I also accept the truth present within every other world spiritual tradition.  I have found in my own exploration that every tradition holds a piece of the truth – why not embrace them all?
  3. I have to say the same about scripture. Scripture and sacred writings of all sorts hold kernels of the truth – we just have to find them.  Dogma and doctrine get in the way. Let’s study the texts with naked eyes and an open heart.
  4. In my experience working in the Church, the greatest thing I found missing were tools for authentic psycho-spiritual development. These tools are readily available in the Church, but the Church refuses to share them.  I have studied, applied, practiced, and now share these tools with those who attend my classes and partake in the services I provide.
  5. I also found the Church lacking in authentic empowerment. The Church begs for people to serve the betterment of the world but provides no formation that would support people in doing this. I provide that formation.
  6. There is a place for women!  Not only is there a place, Jesus’ closest disciple, the one to whom he revealed the resurrection and who he ordained to continue his mission was a woman herself – Mary, called Magdalene.
  7. All are welcome!!!!!!!!!   Authentic Freedom Academy and the Temple of the Magdalene welcome all people from all walks of life, orientation, beliefs, etc.  The space we have created is big enough for all of it. 
  8. Salvation?  Jesus never spoke of salvation being in a heaven light years away.  Instead, he showed his disciples how to find peace, contentment, and joy in the midst of the human experience. This is what I teach, along with the tools for experiencing this.
  9. Love.  Only Love.  Compassion and Love. That is all.

Authentic Freedom™ is Lauri Ann Lumby’s trademarked protocol for transforming the fears that keep you from knowing your true self and living that out freely.  Authentic Freedom™ integrates specific tools and practices of Western Psychology with those of Western Spirituality, resulting in a powerful process through which YOU are supported in becoming self-actualized.

Self-actualized individuals know:

  • Who they are.
  • What their unique gifts are.
  • How they are called to use those gifts for the sake of their own fulfillment and in service to the betterment of the world.

Learn more HERE.

Our online community is made up exclusively of women and men who have completed the Magdalene and/or Melchizedek Trainings, patrons of Authentic Freedom Academy and those who have joined through personal invite. Learn more and become a member HERE.

The Temple of the Magdalene reclaims the ancient order of priestess through:

Temple Membership is made up of fully ordained members, associates and patrons. Learn more HERE.